USDA Food Guideline Calls to “Make Every Bite Count” Nutrient Dense Food at Center of Health & Wellness Journey for Pocono Organics Founder
LONG POND, PA | January 08, 2021 08:05 AM Eastern Standard Time
The USDA’s 2020-2025 food guidelines highlight the need for Americans to eat more nutrient-dense foods to promote better health and fight the risk of chronic disease. Pocono Organics founder and president, Ashley Walsh, knows the power of using food as medicine from her personal health journey with gastroparesis which led her to starting one of the largest regenerative organic farms in North America.
“I was diagnosed with gastroparesis in my late 20s,” said Walsh. “That means that my stomach is paralyzed and I can’t digest food properly. The doctors told me that they could help me by cutting out parts of my stomach, using feeding tubes, and putting me on a regimen of medications. Those weren’t options I was willing to accept. That started my journey with organic and more nutrient-dense foods. The powerful results of using food as medicine along with plant-based supplements were undeniable for me - instead of being sick five days a week, I was sick five days a month. I was also able to get off of all the medications I was taking for my health because of my stomach.
“The problem was that I wasn’t able to get the nutrient-dense organic foods I needed. That’s when the vision for Pocono Organics came to life. I was thrilled to see the USDA theme because when you live with gastroparesis, every bite of food does count! And, when you consider that we rely on just four crops to provide 60% of our daily caloric intake, we have to explore and grow more nutrient-dense food options.”
Pocono Organics, which opened to the public in June of 2020, spans more than 380 acres atop the iconic Pocono Mountains and grows regenerative organic produce for retailers, distributors, restaurants, and consumers. Regenerative organic agricultural practices make soil health the priority and include low-till methods and zero-use of chemicals and pesticides. Pocono Organics’ farming approach, in partnership with Rodale Institute, produces some of the cleanest and most nutrient-dense crops grown on earth – making them better for consumers – while also strengthening and healing the soil in which they are grown – which is better for our planet.
“For more than 70 years, our partners at Rodale Institute have led the world in regenerative organic science and research that shows how healthy soil grows more nutrient-dense food,” Walsh continued. “Our vision, as a health and wellness organization, is to inspire people and heal the earth. The United Nations has reported that we have less than 50 farming cycles left before our soil is completely depleted of the nutrients needed to grow the food we need. So, we are not only facing issues of human health, but of soil health that will further impact humanity and the food we eat.”
Pocono Organics is a Global Center for Research, Education, and Discovery, and is an agritourism destination. Visitors enjoy freshly picked ingredients and prepared meals from its café and are able to stock up with certified organic pantry items in the market. There are also regular in-person and virtual experiential series ranging from cooking masterclasses from executive chef and Food Network Chopped Champion, Lindsay McClain to wellness and food education programs for children. The Pocono Organics education team will also be offering virtual food label reading webinars to share tips on how to read package labels to know what you are really putting in your and your family’s bodies.
Walsh and her team have recently launched one of the cleanest and one of the first regenerative organic grown, full-spectrum hemp extract product lines in the world. Pocono Organics’ CBD is the only line to carry the respected Rodale Institute logo on its products and packaging.
Pocono Organics’ wellness products are CBD-abundant and harness the power of full-spectrum hemp extract to deliver a broader range of health-promoting cannabinoids. These wellness resources - available online and carried in retail outlets, spas, and numerous doctors’ offices across multiple states - are formulated in Pocono Organics' in-house lab to create artisanal, small-batch items including tinctures, creams, salve sticks, lip balms, and bath bombs.